Philippine government to award PHP500 million aquaculture stimulus package

Philippine seaweed farmed in Cebu province (Photo: Estacaan)

The Philippine government, through the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), is set to award a PHP500 million (US$10.4 million) stimulus package to eligible local aquaculture companies whose operations have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The package will be used to fund farming of certain fish and aquatic species with good market potential such as glass eels, sea urchins, and seaweeds as well as establish multi-species hatcheries throughout the country.

The BFAR expects that the funding will help boost total Philippine aquaculture production by around 9,600 tonnes.

Culture technology of glass eel will be introduced through demonstration projects, while fingerlings will be distributed to selected regional production areas such as the Cagayan Valley and North Cotabato province in order to maximise production capacity.

To promote sea urchin production, especially in production areas like the Ilocos region, the Cagayan Valley, the Caraga region, the Bicol region, and Zamboanga, local fisherfolk will be trained on grow-out and cage culture technology. Further, equipment and infrastructures such as sea urchin hatcheries, improved nursery tanks, and processing areas will be established.

For seaweed, the BFAR is considering improvements such as establishment of additional seaweed hatcheries, nurseries, seaweed solar dryers, farmhouses, and technology demonstration projects, rehabilitation of land-based nursery facilities or laboratories, and provision of seedlings and farm implements to seaweed farmers.

The establishment, rehabilitation, and repair of multi-species hatcheries and broodstock facilities – including those of high-value species like seabass, siganids, and blue swimming crabs, among others – will also continue in order to ensure production of good quality fingerlings and broodstock.

Technology outreach stations across the country will be further developed while hatchery operations including technical assistance and production support will also be enhanced.

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